Reserve Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter - Cricket Hill Brewing Co.

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Reserve Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged PorterReserve Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter

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132 Ratings
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Ratings: 132
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 13.24%
Wants: 6
Gots: 18 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Cricket Hill Brewing Co. visit their website
New Jersey, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: lackenhauser on 03-06-2009

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 132 | Reviews: 57
Reviews by thepeter:
Photo of thepeter
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Looks just fine, dark but not totally, decent lace and nice film
S - Slight Bourbon and roasted malt vanilla and some wood in the backround as well all a bit subdued adn not as strong as I would like.
T - similar to the smell but much weaker and got little of the vanilla. A bit bland for what I expected and hoped for.
M - B.S. !! Thin watery and light in body
O - DId not even reach moderate expectations of being a porter and tasting Barrel aged, Just not very good in my opinion.

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was a very dark brown, almost black color, with a medium-sized cocoa head. Aroma was out of this world, a nice melange of coffee, chocolate, bourbon, and smoke. Then I tasted it and thought, "What happened to that great aroma?" Coffee and some sweet chocolate taste, but a lot got left behind. Pretty tepid mouthfeel. A lot of promise in the nose that didn't translate to the taste.

Photo of ChadwickHines
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%

Unique in taste and design. For the more advanced beer advocate.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jh1982 for bringing another under the radar gem to the Nevada/Idaho tailgate. A brown pour, this one had an exceptional 1" light tan head on top of it, very impressive for a bourbon barrel beer, so many of them are so thin in the head. Aroma was nice and minimal bourbon, just right for popping one of these around 11am in a parking lot. Still packed plenty of chocolate and not so much coffee, with a good amount of vanilla.

Taste, amazingly, the most sessionable bourbon barrel beer I've ever had. Truly a beer where it isn't thrown into a booze barrel only to up the abv and make it a big ass beer, this delivers nicely on the nuances. Wish there were more bourbon beers that were in this strength range. Otherwise, its a pretty straightforward porter, not really hoppy like some American porters, but definitely not English tasting yeast either. Pretty much a session type base porter I would venture to guess. I liked it and would recommend it, a great beer for morning tailgates and sharing.

Photo of chinchill
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours a very dark but clear reddish-brown. Small head soon reduces to a bubbly ring.

The aroma is sweet with a clear controibution from the bourbon barrel. The barrel aging is even more apperent in the flavor where it dominates the sweet malts. Rather sweet but short of cloying, with some bitterness coming out in the aftertaste.

Near medium body with a satisfying, but higher than expected level of carbonation. Flavor profile seems to call for a fuller body.

Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from recent Maine trip, glad to pick it up as an unknown. Bretty, a little sourish. A little coffee, would like more roast and hops rather than the bourbon, but I am a Canadian. Good looks as big bubbly head and lacey. Average mouthfeel. Old School porter. Overall so-so. Quaffable.

Photo of mikey711
3.96/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: deep deep brown, nearly black with a nice mocha colored head that left nice lacing

S: Mostly chocolate with some molasses and a hint of bourbon and vanilla. Also reminded me a little of a seven and seven

T: Chocolate with hints of bourbon. Some vanilla is present but not much wood, although this was quite enjoyable

M: Smooth and creamy with no heat present and no chalkiness.

D: Best beer i have had from cricket hill and one that i look forward to having again

Photo of beerthulhu
3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

-Burbon barrel aged porter #2.

A: A cola-chestnut pour yields a flat black coloring while in the glass. The head really never gathers enough steam or strength to make an apperance, quickly dissipating from the active micro-bubbles that appear on the surface. However, despite its weak show, it does manage to leave a thick spongey band lacing along the glass walls.

S: Burbon laced chocolate is dominant on the nose, of medium-strong intentions and lends itself to a great aromatic opening. Sweet black licorice and a roasty sweet chocolate character also comes into play. The finish is sweet and roasty with some hot chocolate notes intertwining.

T: A smooth coffee laced flavor opens things up while the burbon influence is quick to follow and take command with a strong character. Sweet roasty chocolate malts balance and take the edge off lightening up the mood a bit while juicy ripe dark fruit of plums adding sugary and tart moments. There is a slight mention of cookie dough sweetness that I also picked up on adding to the mix while the finish was smooth and roasty sweet, much like a mixture of coffee and warm milk based hot chocolate. As the drink warms the burbon coffee experience becomes much more noticeable, though no less smoother in character remaining light and tasteful to the tongue.

M: The effervesce was hard to pick up on, if any. The body was medium full with a slight creaminess that wraps up with a warming of burbon laced coffee and warm fresh chocolate.

D: Decent drinkability per style and alcohol content (which I can only guess and place at around 8%. Overall smooth with a nice influence of burbon barrel ageing and one of moderately good consumption and enjoyability.

Photo of emerge077
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Billowing tan head of foam, looks a bit like soda actually (oddly foreshadowing). Soapy sudsy texture to the surface. The foam settles down fairly quickly, leaving little to no lacing (it slides back down before really sticking).

Smells like sweet bourbon, Makers or Wild Turkey, nothing fancy. Four Roses? Wow, could've fooled me... must be the standard FR, not the Single Barrel. Somewhat woody, the oak barrel is detectable as it warms, becoming more nuanced. The sweetness seems to mask any alcohol, not that the abv is very high, considering it spent time in a barrel.

Body is a bit thin, and the flavor leans toward bourbon & coke. Not quite as sweet, more oak and vague hints of dark chocolate and cola. Base porter seems a bit lost and overpowered. Astringent feel that hurts it in the long run, but it's relatively easy drinking for a BBA Porter.

According to beernews this was released last spring... it "held up" but would have been better fresh i'm guessing.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about an inch tan head. Head retention is good, and there's also a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is sweet and boozy, the brew smells like bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, caramel and some roasted malt. It tastes like roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and some charred/burnt malt. There's more roasty bitterness than I expected in this brew. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a little bit creamy with good carbonation. I think it's a solid brew overall, it's worth a try. $10.98 a bomber.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at AJ's Beer Warehouse in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark, deep black, with, strangely, visible carbonation, a one inch head, mocha colored, and some good lacing

Smells like dark roasted malt and bourbon.

The taste is similar. Slightly sour and tangy, with subtle bourbon, and chocolate- cocoa powder, mainly. Some vanilla, as well, with tart dark fruits- cherries and grapes.

Medium bodied, slightly thin for the style. Very creamy and smooth.

This one is a bit better than it's ratings show, but isn't quite big enough to match its barrel characteristics. The sour-ish twang isn't all that pleasant either, but goes away as the beer warms up.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

dark brown, nearly black and opaque with a smallish, maybe one inch white to off white head on top. This faded gradually leaving behind a nice amount of side glass lace. Smell was very sweet, nice hints of nuts and caramel, along with a roasted barley. The taste was very smooth, and rich and creamy. Very nice caramel flavor with a hint of coffee. Roasted nuts in the back with a very hoppy finish. This actually snuck up on me and I thought it was remnants of the IPA from dinner I thought I was tasting, but it actually had quite the dry hoppy finish. A great medium body with smooth carbonation gave way to a great session porter. Overall this was pretty good. A touch above average for a porter

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.25/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Handsome deep brown, fairly thick mocha head that reduces pretty quickly.
smell: Pleasant bourbon and hint of roasty porter. Hints at being a great rich nose but falls off. Just a hint that doesn't linger long enough.
taste: Follows through on most of the unkept promise of the nose. Very good bourbon and creamy porter balance.
mouthfeel: silky and carbonated.
overall: Almost great. Really enjoyed this.

Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color—only the slightest traces of dark red are visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down leaving a patch of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: As the beer warms up, light aromas of bourbon become noticeable.
T: Like the smell, the bourbon flavors in this beer take a long time to develop and really require it to warm up.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The bourbon barrel gaining definitely makes this beer a little more interesting, but it takes a lot of waiting for these to develop.

Photo of Boccu
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark. Slight head. Nice aroma. Nice porter easy to drink. Alittle weak on the flavor for me light has hints of bourbon at the end.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle courtesy of lackenhauser pours a deep brown color with an airy tan head that fluffs about for a good while. Nice lace even though this one has been sitting in my fridge for about a year.

Nose is a fair amount of wood and bourbon but is surprisingly light on the malt. A bit of tobacco and fruit...overall pretty light on the aroma.

Again, it has a great wood and bourbon presence...but the malt has totally checked out of this motel. The mouthfeel is thin, obviously, but has a certain smoothness to it that is nice. This could be good, they just need to double down on the malt and get some chocolate and roast flavors to compliment the nice barrel treatment.

Photo of ShanePB
3.29/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Liberty Taproom into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Dark brown almost completely black looking body with a very small off-white head. Perhaps it was sitting out a bit before served to the table. Thin retention cap and almost no lacing at all. Some transparency around the top edges, average looking beer.

S: Bourbon, wood, red grapes, vanilla and sweet caramel. There's a rich dark malt base of the porter and the barrel aging is there though somewhat muted. Chocolate on the back end of the aroma.

T: More bourbon than on the nose, enough to let you know it's there but not completely overpowering. Hints of vanilla and sweet chocolate/caramel malts come through mid-palate. It is certainly flavorful but in terms of complexity it's underwhelming. I do enjoy the nice bourbon qualities this one has, it really is nicely done from a balance standpoint.

M: Way too thin, quite bubbly and fizzy. The barrel must have thinned this one out which is too bad. Lingering bourbon bite is nice though.

I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. The bourbon was nicely done but the complexity other than that just wasn't there. Couple that with a pretty thin and watery body and it just was much less than it could have been. Some great potential with a bit of cleaning up.

Photo of FreshHawk
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Dark, opaque black color with an average sized, creamy, foamy, light looking, light cafe colored head. Fairly good retention leaving a nice layer of lace.

S - Huge kick of bourbon on the nose. Chocolate and vanilla also show up pretty strong and give it a slight sweetness. Some sweet molasses and anise as well. A touch of spice but that is quickly covered by the bourbon.

T - Again a strong amount of bourbon comes through. Very slight caramel malt and even subtler chocolate flavors. Woody and oaky flavors are also pretty strong and very subtle vanilla. Taste like a watered down bourbon. Not horrible but it definitely could use more porter flavors (chocolate, coffee, malt, etc.). Slight vinous and dark fruit, but it is overshadowed by the bourbon.

M - Lighter body with average carbonation. Just to thin and watery to be really enjoyable.

D - I finished the bottle, but it wasn't really easy. The body is too thin and the flavor just doesn't have enough porter flavor coming through to be really drinkable. I typically don't seek out 22 oz of watered down bourbon though.

Notes: Bourbon definitely comes out; unfortunately not enough of the porter does. The body is just to thin and watery to stand up to the bourbon as well. It's not horrible, but it is just like drinking a watered down bourbon. I like bourbon, just not 22 oz. of thin, watered down bourbon.

Photo of Etan
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a brandy snifter. Not sure of the vintage.

A: Pours an opaque reddish black with a soft light tan head. Really nice retention and lacing.

S: Huge bourbon and oak in the nose. Tannic, vanilla, base beer behind with some sweet chocolate.

T: Bourbon dominates the taste as well, but not in as good a way as in the aroma. Big wood and corn liquor. Slight vanilla. Very weak base beer (slight hint of bitter cocoa) drowned out.

M: Thin body, way overly carbonated, very tannic.

O: Looks and smells nice, but the taste and mouthfeel are a huge letdown. The base beer is too weak to stand up to the barrel, and the beer is way too carbonated.

Photo of claspada
3.52/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of dark roasted malts with some alcohol, vanilla and a little oak. All the secondary aromas are on the mild side, but still there.

The tastes are of vanilla and the fainted hints of bourbon and wood, but the overall taste seems watered down, I think only because the original beer was only 4.9% ABV. A bit astringent with a slight harshness from the darker malts/alcohol. As it warms, there is a slight chocolate note. The mouthfeel is thin, which is the major detractor holding this beer back from being impressive. The thinness allows some bourbon to come through, but not backed by much. It needs a more robust character to complement the bourbon and more bourbon character to be honest.

Photo of JayS2629
4.12/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque brown with red tinges, a creamy head that faded slow and left ok lacing.

The aroma was of brown sugar, dark spiced rum, and chocolate with coffee hints a good dose of vanilla.

the flavor followed with oak, vanilla, dark spiced rum, toffee, chocolate, and hints of coffee. rum is prominent but nicely balanced.

a bit of a burn...otherwise smooth.

Overall a complex, interesting, great balanced sipper.

Photo of jwc215
3.04/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle - Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing back from the brewery for me!

Pours muddy brown with a thin head that becomes a vanishing wisp. No lacing sticks.

The smell is of bourbon/vanilla and wood. It's on the mild side, but there.

The taste is of vanilla/bourbon and wood that has been watered down. A bit astringent with a slight fruity - green apple - note. The ash that was in the original porter from this brewery is subdued here. As it progresses, there is a slight chocolate note. Some "wet cardboard"/oxidation shows in the finish.

The feel is thin - and a bit odd. It seems undercarbonated/watery, but when swirled over the tongue, some carbonation appears giving a harsh texture in the back of the tongue.

The thinness allows some bourbon to come through, but not backed by much. It is woody in a green way. It needs a more robust character to complement the bourbon (and more bourbon character). A disappointing brew (though some bourbon is there, and it's not completely undrinkable or "off").

Photo of dbrauneis
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some light hints of reddish brown when held up to the light. The beer has a quarter finger tall light beige head that quickly reduces to a small patch of very thin film and a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: As this beer warms, strong aromas of bourbon come out with lighter notes of oak, vanilla, and alcohol.

T: Light flavors of roasted malts with very light notes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Slightly sweet upfront and minimal amounts of bitterness.

M: Light to medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: For a lighter thinner porter, it is tough to get the bourbon barrel aging to really come out as fully as other styles. This is a very average beer and probably did not benefit from the barrel aging.

Photo of jlindros
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm usually a sucker for a bourbon barrel aged beer, so let's see how this one is.

Pours a slightly darker colored fluffy bubbly almost 1 finger head that fades at a med pace, nice lines of lacing, over very dark syrupy brown color, just a bit of mahogany light streaming through.

Nose brings some chalky cocoa, cocoa powder and a bit of dark chocolate, lots of wood dust, little barrel, light buttery oak, little acrid roast, hint of bourbon or a heavy booze, touch of vanilla as well. Little grassy like hops. Hint of possible sour infection setting in but that could be a light tangy aroma from the charred barrel and roast, but either way glad I didn't wait any longer to crack this.

Taste starts with bourbon juice, pure bourbon although that dies very quickly. then on to chalky cocoa powder again, it def has a dry chalky flavor and feel. Next up brings more barrel, little barrel char, some light vanilla and buttery oak, little saw dust as well, and perhaps a hint of infection setting in again but hard to tell. Next brings a bit of acrid roast and charred malt, a little tin burnt like, and hint of black patent like. Finish is chalky burn charred roast and little acrid as well, light barrel char and cocoa, vanilla, etc, somewhat dry but sticky syrupy.

mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall not so great but at least decent. The barrel helped a bit I think, but the base beer doesn't seem great. I don't think there is an infection but more like acrid burnt flavors from over roasted malts and barrel char. Some bourbon juice in there is a nice addition, as well as the vanilla and buttery barrel but not too great overall.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampling cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. The beer pours a rich dark chocolate brown hue with creamy tightly packed tan head of 3-4 cm foaming up on a gentle pour.
Aroma is rich bourbon immediately with a bit of vanilla and toffee mixed in for good measure. I also get hints of brown sugar on a complex yet kind of mild nose.
First sip reveals an average to lighter body with very fine carbonation that is spacious and cask like. Easy drinker on the physical traits.
Flavor is bourbon, vanilla, and brown sugar. I get a little sweet toffee and maybe a hint of roasted malt buried under the bourbon.
I dont get any real hop profile nor ABV poking through on this beer. A nice barrel aged beer that doesnt smack you in the face too hard.
Worth a try but I wouldnt seek this beer out for a special sampling.

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Reserve Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter from Cricket Hill Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.